Earlier we brought you reactions from both Jon Jones and Lyoto Machida to their forthcoming match-up at UFC 140 on December 10th, but what does the fighter who was originally expected to face the champion next think about it?

Current light-heavyweight No.1 contender Rashad Evans has now released a statement explaining exactly why he won’t be fighting Jones.

“After my last fight against Tito Ortiz, I dislocated my right thumb, which required it to be set back in place and held with pins. 24 hours ago, my physician removed the pins. At that time, I learned that it would require another three weeks of rehabilitation before engaging in any exercise or training that would require the use of my hand. Dana White and I spoke earlier today, and I fully understand his decision to put Machida against Jones for the title at UFC 140. Given the rehabilitation time I require for my dislocated thumb, I would not be 100 percent ready by December 10. The UFC has to keep making fights that entertain the fans. I would have done the same thing as Dana in his position. I’m asking for the fans to support me as I rehabilitate my hand, and I promise I will be back fighting very quickly.”

It’s an unfortunate situation for Evans who’s now missed out on three title opportunities – once against Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and twice against Jon Jones due to injuries to either himself or his opponent.

It’ll be interesting to see how things play out from here as it looks as if he may now have to fight again before getting his title shot.  At this stage his most likely opponent would appear to be Phil Davis who’s also currently out injured but should hopefully be back in early 2012.